Can an Electric Fence Kill You

I’ve been using a 7KV electric fence at my land’s perimeter for 2 years. Also, as a fence installer, I’ve installed a lot of electric fences for clients. I’ve come across touching the electric fence wires multiple times. To be honest it hurts a lot at the moment. But people may think can an electric fence can kill someone, or impose health hazards.

The answer is a properly maintained legal electric fence just gives a short-timed & low-powered electric shock pinching(cramping) your muscles, just to scare & make the humans & animals remember to stay away from fence lines. Research & statistical data show deaths from electric fences are relatively rare compared to overall electrocution incidents.

However, if someone strikes his head against a charged electric fence or gets stuck in the fence wires for a longer time or the fence is shorted with a high amperage live wire. In that case, an electric fence can severely injure you or could be lethal as even a low-power current can damage fragile and sensitive parts i.e. brain, heart etc if touched for a longer time.

Electric fences mostly affect small animals the most. Few children and adults are also reported in history to be electrocuted by an electric fence, although the stats are not that alarming. Fatal incidents occur due to a fault in the electric fence, such as another live wire short-circuiting your electric fence, rain, or getting stuck into the fence wires.

In this guide, we’ll discuss are electric fences lethal & some scenarios where they really become deadly for humans & animals.

Can an electric fence kill you?

The answer is No. Electric fence energizers are designed to output a high voltage pulse of 2-15KV, but the amperage is kept quite low such as around 100 mA. Remember, milliamps is the thousand part of an ampere. The main home supply is around 50-100A, that’s why it’s lethal.

Amperage is the number(volume) of electrons passing through a circuit. The higher is amperage there are more electrons & the current gets severe. On the other hand, voltage is the pressure on electrons passing through a circuit. As we increase the voltage, the pressure on charges increases, which helps the current to quickly travel in the whole fence & rapidly jump on the body. A high voltage of 10KV and a low voltage of 240V affect the same until the amperage is the same.

If touched continuously even an amperage of 100-200 milliamps can be dangerous. That’s why the electric fence energizer is designed to output very low power in pulses. Hence someone who touches the fence doesn’t get hooked to the fence wires. Current don’t have enough intensity & time to climb all your body & sensitive parts. Such low-power current can’t penetrate your body for long. Also, the pulsed(discontinuous) voltage won’t make you hook to the fence wires.

electric fence dangers

Why AC main power supply is lethal & electric fences are not?

As compared to electric fences that output thousands of volts(KV) & still are not lethal, the main AC power supply carries only 120 or 240 volts but affects too much due to the high amperage of around 50-100A and continuous supply. The amperage is high enough to electrocute in seconds also the current won’t let you free & hooks to the wires. The high amps in the AC power supply penetrate your muscles and burn your skin & tissues & climb up the sensitive organs (brain & heart). That’s why the AC power supply(120V or 240V) can kill someone in seconds.

However, in electric fences, the low amperage in milliamps and discontinuous current supply will prevent you from grabbing toward the fence. After each pulse, there is a short time, delay so you’ll be able to move away from fence wires. If you test the voltage of your fence with a multimeter, an ideal fence should have at least 3000-5000V and a very low current in milliamps. However, their power may differ depending on the purpose, coverage area, and manufacture.

Scenarios where electric fences could be lethal:

  1. In some scenarios such as holding the fence longer, contact with the head, being stuck in the fence wires, health issues, toddlers & old aged & barefoot, which can impose serious psychological & health issues or even death.
  2. Sometimes animal casualties occur due to the horns or fur tangled with the electric fence wires. This won’t allow the animal to move away from the fence wires, and a continuous pulse of current will hurt the animal resulting in its death.
  3. If the electric fence is short-circuited with a high amperage live wire such as from an AC power supply wire or a power pole, there will be the same amount of current in the fence that could be lethal.
  4. Similarly, if someone pees on an electric fence wire, he will receive an awful shock as pulses hit the sensitive parts. But it must be a temporary situation & doesn’t have lethal impacts.

Electric fences must be installed wisely keeping the safety of others in mind & also install warning signs. Kids & old people should be prohibited from getting closer to the electric fence wires.

Some electric fence electrocution incidents reported in history:

According to Times of India: A tragic incident unfolded on April 29, 2023, in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. Jayakumar, riding his two-wheeler, encountered a battery-powered electric fence. According to police though the fence was not illegal and below lethal levels, he suffered continuous electric shocks for nearly 30 minutes. Despite attempts to help, he tragically succumbed to the repeated shocks.

In Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, on May 1, 2023, a 29-year-old farmer tragically died of electrocution. The incident occurred when he came into contact with an electric fence inadvertently charged by an adjacent electric pole, as reported by Times of India.

Augusta, Georgia October 2018: In a heartbreaking incident, 12-year-old Melquan Robinson lost his life while playing football at a local baseball field. As he climbed a fence to retrieve the ball, he was tragically electrocuted. Investigations revealed a live wire touching the fence, leading to the fatal accident. (Source:

In July 2015, a devastating incident occurred in Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka, Japan. Masatomo Ozaki, his son Raiku, and his friend Kaio Lwamura lost their lives in an electrocution accident while playing in a river. Investigation revealed a homemade electric fence, set up by a 79-year-old man as a deterrent. The fence, constantly charged and connected to a 440-volt transformer, proved fatal when left powered on unknowingly. (Source: Japan Times).

There are several incidents reported every month & year. Most of them occur due to our own carelessness such as installing a faulty, illegal or high-power fence or similar accidents i.e. getting in touch with the fence for a longer time. Despite the harm electric fence serves people more by saving their property from intruders & their land & fields from animals.

Can an electric fence kill a child?

A well-maintained electric fence can’t kill a human, child, or animal. Each second electric fence energizer supplies a voltage pulse with low amperage for nanoseconds. The purpose of an electric fence is to give a slight shock to alert a human or animal to stay away from wires.

However, children are not as mature & strong as adults, and they don’t know how to immediately react to an electric fence shock. An accidental touch can harm a child more than a human. If a child collides his head with the fence, it can seriously damage the brain. Hence, a long-term connection could also be lethal.

Also, if the child doesn’t wear shoes or crawl on the grass, there is no resistance between the ground and the skin. That’s why shock from a fence can be severe.

That’s why adjusting an electric fence at low amperage is essential. Ideally, an electric fence should have a minimum amperage(around 100 milliamps) to protect humans and animals from severe damage.

However, according to electric fence electrocution incidents reported in the past, most children died due to:

  1. Trying to climb through the fence & trapped.
  2. A live wire was touching the fence(short circuit).
  3. Colliding head with the fence.
  4. Falling over the electric fence.
  5. Rain can also affect the efficiency of an electric fence. So, install the fence charger under a shade.

Can an electric fence kill a dog?

An electric fence affects dogs the same as humans. A properly maintained electric fence can’t kill a dog but can hurt them from a minor to a serious level. However, the good thing is that dogs & cats are energetic & swiftly react to an electric fence shock that saves them from an awful injury.

The electric fence gives a shocking effect and a painful memory to your dog, but it must not risk an animal’s life. High amperage electric fence shock can give slight burns and aggression issues.

A well-maintained electric fence won’t hurt a dog more than just a temporary pain that may affect may effect from minutes to hours depending on the fence’s power & the contact of sensitive body parts. I’ve seen dogs peeing on electric fence gets hurt more & react for longer An electric fence can make a dog aggressive due to psychological trauma. The dog may react aggressively to strangers or even owners but the effects should not last longer.

The electric fence won’t kill your dog unless the electric fence is faulty(shorted with a live wire) or the dog gets stuck into the fence wire. So you should keep your dog away from the fence or train them to sense and stay away from the electric fence. Also, avoid electrifying barbed wires.

Will a 7000-volt electric fence kill you?

Electricity is dangerous for human beings & animals when you think about voltage, such as 7000 volts (7KV) but the scenario of an electric fence is a little different.

Voltage and amperage are different things. Voltage is not what kills. It’s the pressure on the current passing through a circuit. In order to deliver the charge(current) in the entire length of fence wires, an electric fence energizer is designed to output high voltage in KV.

Amperage is the number of electrons(current) passing through a conductor per second that imposes serious impacts on health & could be lethal.

The lethality of an electric shock also depends on various factors, such as the amperage(intensity) of the current, duration of the shock, the path the current takes in your body, and the resistance between the body & ground.

The current in the electric fence is controlled by the energizer, which converts the home power supply(240V) or DC power to a high voltage pulse(kilovolts) & minimum amps(a few milliamps).

As the amperage of an electric fence circuit is very low (around 100 milliamps), a 7000V electric fence or higher won’t seriously harm a living being. Also, the short-timed electric pulse will turn off the current within milliseconds and prevent you from hooking up to the live wires.

However, in some cases, such as the electric fence being set at too high amperage, faulty fence charger, someone getting stuck into the fence wires, the fence getting short-circuited by other live wires, and rain can bring serious dangers to a human or animal.

So, after installing a fence, the owner should have a multimeter or a fence tester(fault finder) to check the fence frequently. For human safety, it’s advisable to install electric fence indicator lights & warning signs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an electric fence kill a cat?

Cats can sense electric fence wires. However, if they accidentally touch the fence wires, they will receive a painful shock. As cats are energetic, they respond quickly & jump away from the fence wires, which saves them from death.

Will an electric fence kill a chicken?

Electric fences specially designed for chickens are safe for chickens & same-sized birds & animals. However, heavy-duty (high-power) electric fences can electrocute chickens to death.

Can electric fences kill animals?

A well-maintained electric fence won’t kill a human or animal. However, if an animal gets stuck in the fence, there are chances of death. Mostly small animals like tortoises & snakes die more often due to electric fences


Many of us had dared to touch an electric fence or had accidentally done that. The tingling and shocking effect scares everyone because the high voltage pulses give a temporary painful memory. Under normal conditions, well-maintained electric fences are not life-threatening to human or animal life. The high voltage gives a sparking shock, but the low amperage and discontinuous current supply prevent you from sticking to the live fence wire and causing serious harm.

However, some issues, such as short circuits, faulty chargers & being stuck in the fence can impose harmful impacts. Hopefully, you’ve learned how amperage and voltage impact a human or animal. If you still have any questions, ask us in the comments below.

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